Category Archives: Art Barn

The Art Barn: What I’m “Currently” Animating

Hello, everyone.  It sure has been a long time since the last installment of The Art Barn here at Dinofarm Games.  There are many reasons for the delinquency, but it probably mostly has to do with how dumb and stupid and idiot I am, but also that I’m working all the time on animations for AURO!

Today’s short post will be a brief update on a special effect in the works.

You see, when Auro uses the spell, “Jump”(working title) he uses magical wind to propel upwards, leaving behind him a spinning gust of wind called a “current.”  Now I hope you all see how clever was with that title and how you shouldn’t let your girlfriends read this or else they’ll leave fake barf in your locker(haha).

This was a very difficult animation.  It requires the transition from an omnidirectional jump effect into a looping dust cloud, into a dissipation.  I went through several DRAFTS (all of which BLEW) before I got something I could take into the pixel phase. read more »

THE ART BARN: What’s Involved in Spriting for Auro

I have just come out of a very deep hole.  After you’ve removed your minds from the gutter, I’ll explain that I mean I have just completed a single animation for Dinofarm Games upcoming title, Auro: The Golden Prince, and it… took… me… weeks.  

Behold the Foxy M.A.M.A.!

"Monsters Are My Allies."

She’s a militant monster’s rights activist.  She’ll do anything to stand up for those cute little rats!  Sometimes that gets her arrested.  Hence your various encounters with her in the palace dungeon!  But I digress. read more »

THE ART BARN: Designing and Redesigning “Auro”

[Note from the editor: We just over-hauled our Kickstarter video with this new design.  Please check it out, and consider donating!  We only have a week left!  With that said, please enjoy this latest installment of THE ART BARN, in which our lead artist Blake Reynolds dishes out some helpful experience with character design.]

This post isn’t so much instructional as it is reflective.  The truth is, I don’t know much about character design beyond very fundamental concepts like “don’t rip nothin’ off too bad,” which includes “try not to do sonic the hedgehog recolors.”  For Dinofarm Games‘ upcoming title, Auro: The Golden Prince,  I made a point to do an extensive pre-visualization period, one which would cement the visual language of the game in a way I wasn’t able to for our last project, 100 Rogues.  What we ended up with was a character design which, among many problems, failed to convey the most crucial piece of information, what does this character do?  Thanks to both the internal feedback I received and the… critique many prospective players gave, we went back to the drawing board after well over six months of rigorous visual planning.  I knew I was forgetting another one of those principles in character design: “Throw everything out and start over if you stink.”

Join me for a retrospective on the design of our main character, Prince Auro.  I take back what I said earlier about this not being instructional.  Buckle up for more “what not to do” moments” than you’ll know what to do with!

read more »

The Art Barn: Hue Variation and Reflected Light

We all know that coloring is fun.  I, for one, have been coloring non-stop since my Grandpa sat me down on the front step, put earmuffs on me, threw some crayons in my lap and told me to just color and color.  No matter what I might hear, even when Nana asks me to call the police and that there’s a string cheese in it for me, no matter what, just keep coloring…keep coloring.  My grandpa was very supportive.  I really owe it all to him.

Anyway, this article is about color, but more importantly, light.  Because without light, we wouldn’t see color, and hey-HO, sonny Jim, no reading what color crayon you got!  GIRAFFES AREN’T DRACONIAN SCARLET dumb butt so try again!

We will be discussing how to observe color.  Again, this column is mostly geared towards programmers who can’t afford to hire artists.  Like in my previous article,  The Cool Rules of Spritingthese tips are meant to be very quick, easy ways to make your art look more effective and convincing without all that boring-ass drawring school.

Before we get into the examples, let’s get our terms straight.  Careful, here’s where it gets a bit fancy, ok?

*Chroma and Saturation are effectively the same thing.  When something has a high chroma, it has a lot of saturation.

That’s how to say it fancy.

read more »

The Art Barn: The Cool Rules of Spriting

Those of you who know about Dinofarm Games might know about its lead designer and columnist Keith Burgun.  Anyone who knows him in person would also know me, because we’re housemates.  I’m willing to bet, though, that there are a few people(maybe on the internet) who know Keith and don’t know me.  First off, you ought to be ashamed of yourself because I’m pretty darn amazing all-around and am especially good with kids (let me hang out with your dumb idiot kids!) But if you want to get right down to it, my name is Blake Reynolds, and I try to make Keith’s games look pretty.

I’ll be general custodian of The Art Barn, the new art column for Dinofarm Games.   Its primary goal is to share some half-baked know-how about pixel art, animation and art in general.  This will mostly benefit non-artists.  Beginners of all types, people new to pixel art and 2D animation, and especially programmers who can’t afford to hire artists.  Programming’s hard enough, chaps, so I hope I can provide fun little tutorials that may give some indy developers with no art team some quick and easy tips for making their games prettier.

For those of you who are already artists, you’re probably way better than me.  This is good – I prefer learning to teaching anyway, so leave me some comments and let me know where I’ve gone horribly wrong.

This first installment is about spriting or, in scientific terms, “makin’ little mans outa ‘puter squares” (there’ll be a lot of oh-ficial lingo so keep up, jerks!)  Spriting is noble work, and by noble I mean an incredibly dumb and inefficient use of your time and life.  But we all know it’s worth it because  pixel art is really special.  It’s challenging, therapeutic and rewarding.  As a practical matter, it’s ideal for small resolutions like mobile devices and hand-held consoles.  As previously stated in an article by Keith about pixel art, an artist chooses which pixel goes where rather than a computer squashing and approximating pixels from a high res-digitized 3d model.  This process of digitizing 3d models, will always, ALWAYS look awful.  I’m not saying there aren’t terrifically talented 3D modelers out there or great looking 3D art, but crushing and blurring a 3D model into a 64×64 sprite?   Who ever actually thought…



The point is, at small resolutions, every pixel counts, so every pixel should be accounted for.  Behold my logics! read more »